w/ Chris Stevenson, The Rideau View Golf Insider
As the third-ranked player in the race to the CME Globe standings, Smiths Falls’ Brooke Henderson has control of her destiny at the season ending CME Group Tour Championship and the $1 million prize this week.
A win at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., and it doesn’t matter what No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn or No. 2 Lydia Ko do, the season-long championship will belong to Henderson, who’s the seventh-ranked player in the world.
But Henderson went against her instincts and touched the box full of $1 million in bills for a photo shoot with Jutanugarn and Ko. She was asked if it was a little bit like the Stanley Cup tradition — you don’t touch the Cup until you’ve won it.
“Yeah, for sure. I think playing hockey and playing golf, you know, I never have touched the trophy before I’ve won it,” she said. “So I was a little hesitant, but they were right at it so I figured it would be okay.”
So hopefully it’s a level playing field when it comes to the top three and whatever superstitions might be out there.
Henderson has been the busiest player on the LPGA Tour this season. This will be her 31st start. She skipped the tournament in Japan a couple of weeks ago, her first real break since early August.
“Actually, I heard that the jet lag and the time change coming from Japan to Mexico was really difficult,” Henderson said. “Some girls, they weren’t recommending it. I figured it had been a pretty busy schedule, and that time change I wasn’t really looking forward to. I really struggled earlier in the year coming back from Australia. I slept for almost a week with that time change.
“I thought I would give myself a little bit of rest and prepare for the final two weeks, last week in Mexico and this week CME.”
Henderson defended her heavy schedule this season. She had two wins – her first in a major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in May and successfully defended in Portland in June – and a total of 11 top 10s in her first 18 tournaments of the season. She had four top 10s in the past 12.
Remarkably, she missed only one cut, at the Walmart in Arkansas in June (she won the next week in Portland).
“I think it being my first year it was really important for me to go to most of the events and experience what the golf courses were like, the atmosphere,” she said. “Maybe in years to come I can pick and choose a little bit more where I play well or where the fans or a little bit better or something like that.
“But I had a lot of fun. I got to see and travel the world and around the United States and Canada. I gained so many new relationships with fans and different sponsors, different communities, which also is very important.
“You know, my whole life thus far has been wanting to play on the LPGA Tour. Now that I finally have a chance to do it, I want to make the most of it.”
She’s done that.
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